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@mods Can we have some guidelines about mod adoption / takeovers?


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It seems like there are quite a few threads nowadays about people wanting to use pieces of other people's mods, or adopt / take over mods which haven't been updated. Maybe the mods of the forum could come up with some guidelines about what can and can't be done in scenarios like these? In some threads we discuss it but we are just members after all, and clearly there's not going to be a consensus from us.

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Under absolutely no circumstance should anyone feel compelled to ask permission or give credit for making a mod that is similar to another one already made. Even the most subtle differences can be what makes the mod 'essential' to a player instead of considering it trash.

Under absolutely no circumstance should you feel compelled to give credit or ask permission to use code that can be considered the 'obvious way to do something'. It doesnt matter if its letter for letter EXACTLY like something already written.

If a mod has been 'out of date' for more than a month it should be considered abandoned and anyone can update it and upload it who is willing to put in the effort.

Pretty much common sense if you are offended by the idea that someone would use part of your "MOD" (which means you're already using/MODifying code that the game publisher wrote) you should not be modding. GTFO and dont publish your stuff publicly. If you want it private then only hand deliver it to the specific people you want to use it. As soon as its public ITS PUBLIC.

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@seronis, your opinion is in clear collision to Modding Etiquette statement made by JanH (as well as your overall behavior towards people that disagree with you on these boards imo, but that is again something that should be judged by Klei)

 

Yet it seems we need another person from Klei to confirm (or reject, I suppose, but I highly doubt that) their previous statement in post linked.

 

 

 

[*]If you choose to modify and upload another person's mod, be sure to ask them for permission and provide them proper credit unless they have said previously that their work can be freely reworked or modified.

 

 

 

Releasing to public does not make your work public domain. So please, lets have someone from Klei officially stop this nonsense.

 

Also, if they say I should GTFO from these boards, I will be forced to compel. Sadly, you have no power to shut me (or the others) up just because we disagree with you.

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Under absolutely no circumstance should anyone feel compelled to ask permission or give credit for making a mod that is similar to another one already made. Even the most subtle differences can be what makes the mod 'essential' to a player instead of considering it trash.

No.

 

Under absolutely no circumstance should you feel compelled to give credit or ask permission to use code that can be considered the 'obvious way to do something'. It doesnt matter if its letter for letter EXACTLY like something already written.

No in most cases.

 

If a mod has been 'out of date' for more than a month it should be considered abandoned and anyone can update it and upload it who is willing to put in the effort.

More than one month? So one month and 1 day?

Also NO.

 

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Under absolutely no circumstance should anyone feel compelled to ask permission or give credit for making a mod that is similar to another one already made. Even the most subtle differences can be what makes the mod 'essential' to a player instead of considering it trash.

Under absolutely no circumstance should you feel compelled to give credit or ask permission to use code that can be considered the 'obvious way to do something'. It doesnt matter if its letter for letter EXACTLY like something already written.

If a mod has been 'out of date' for more than a month it should be considered abandoned and anyone can update it and upload it who is willing to put in the effort.

Pretty much common sense if you are offended by the idea that someone would use part of your "MOD" (which means you're already using/MODifying code that the game publisher wrote) you should not be modding. GTFO and dont publish your stuff publicly. If you want it private then only hand deliver it to the specific people you want to use it. As soon as its public ITS PUBLIC.

I would disagree with this, as all of mine are out of date, but, they all work as intended, so what do I care?

As for my opinion on the matter, if people want to rewrite a mod to release to the public they can easily ask permission, and/or add the original author as an author. If he/she doesn't respond then I doubt they would care if someone was inspired by their code to do the same, or even see it to get upset since they are not around anymore.

This applies to code only of course. I believe people's artwork should never be used without permission from the artist.

My two cents.

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So how does one mark a mod abandoned, as that is basically permission to everyone? I have no interest in Questastic! anymore, but I can't add the abandoned tag without updating it... I guess on Steam Workshop it's enough to say so in the description?

 

EDIT1: Eh, I didn't have to upload a new file, it just counts twice, so I deleted the old count. Steam Workshop doesn't have an "abandoned" tag, sadly.

 

P.S.: From what I understand, the main point of this thread is that "adoption" is, according to the linked Modding Etiquette, only allowed with permission of the author. But not all authors can be contacted (a good example is the puppy princess). Please correct me if I'm wrong about this.

 

EDIT1: Just because I don't see a clear answer, I get confused over all of that contacting thing. I suppose the "silence is an answer" rule applies, which makes more problems than solutions: One could be ignoring my request, a clear no, but one could also be like "I left modding behind, I don't care what happens with it" and also not reply to my request, which is what makes me really confused.

 

Riddle me this, Heavenfall & Co. I suck at riddles, that's all. Personal messages maybe? Oh what am I doing here...

 

This all would not be necessary if declaring something as abandoned, and thus free to work on, was more obvious and easy of an option... Of course resulting in more abandoned mods, which is a bit of a drawback. Just a bit.

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Mobbstar, and thats why you should err on the side of common sense. An out of date mod with an uncontactable author is abandoned for all intents and purposes.

 

Common sense is good, but facts are even better: Just read that thread regarding said example, you'll find an authorities opinion is much needed.

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So, are these the rules concerning adopting and modifying entire mods? Or do they also extend to bits of code from said mods. I'd imagine only the former, as claiming something was copyrighted because a bit of code is similar (or an exact copy, but w/e) is kind of ridiculous. Especially since if the original mod was made by a competent programmer, then the way that it was done may be the best kind of way to do whatever it was you're trying to do. Having to rewrite a section of code because it's similar to something else even if it would make it less efficient is a little absurd. I think that might be a bit closer to what @seronis was trying to get at.

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It depends what you define by 'bits of code'. An algorithm that solves a common problem would likely have been documented elsewhere/been used as a common practice/a design pattern does not fall under the modder copyright because it is not *his*. Noone is going to try to copyright the 'lua implementation of a quicksort algorithm for the purpose of solving x in a dont starve mod'.

 

For the non-obvious cases, how do you know it's same as someone else's code and therefore you need to rewrite it, and who is the one that should rewrite the code? It's like arguing with a student that has exact same solution as the other one with different symbol names "I did not copy it!". How do you know you have a 'coding similarity' problem unless you actually did take the code without even trying to make your own. Unless we're talking about 2 liners, it's highly unlikely that two solutions of a same problem of any significant size would be anywhere close to same. And even less likely that either side would know of it.

 

On the other hand, if you are claiming that you can copy any part of the mod code verbatim and claim as your own because it solves your problem in an effective way, what is the difference between the whole mod and big chunks of code that are defining it's full functionality? If that is what you want to allow then what is a mod as a whole, just a set of graphic assets, everything else is free for all? What would copyright on a code piece even mean then? (Granted, the moment we use mod tools or game assets or reference existing game code our code becomes Klei's ownership, which would invalidate copyright statements, or the attempts of enforcing them by any of us).

 

The guidelines were not written with lawyer language and precision, but as a rough guide to community. One could certainly find a hole in the wording and claim that you are only not allowed to copy or modify or take credit for a mod as a whole but you can do whatever you want with the portions of it, since the statement does not explicitly say or any portion of the mod. What common sense says that it is indeed supposed to be interpreted that way, knowing how licences and copyrights usually go?

 

Can someone expect that, since klei has given us access to the whole lua part of their source code, we can now copy and reuse any and all of that for our other unrelated personal projects whenever the solutions they used seem appropriate, and claim the products as our own, just because they opened the source, or any other open source project? You could always say that you thought their implementation to be superior to anything you could have came up with and is therefore absurd to write your own, as it would make it worse. Effectively, the intellectual property laws as a whole are irrational and unreasonable in that line of thought.

 

Of course, there is still a case of long-abandoned mods (that could use special case - different approach), that (I thought) this thread was initially about. But that specific is once again lost in favor of disagreements on active code base copyrights. I realize it's my fault/undoing too. As much as I am sorry that the official statement does not give any chance of mod reclamation at all, it seems it could actually use stricter wording after all, as to straighten up interpretations. Tho I find such interpretations... pretentious.

 

Essentially, as long as people use reason and common courtesy among themselves, there is rarely a problem. It is when those are missing that one needs to resort to officials and formal statements/enforcements. I find it really weird that there are so many people here that seem to have a horrible problem with what I thought were common (even unwritten) rules among modders. I can only assume that steam community has included certain types that can't 'lower themselves' to it. I don't recall ever rejecting someone's request for help or code parts. Perhaps if you asked people, you would get both the code and cleaner explanation/guidance/further help related to implementation, instead of demanding to be able to take everything that you see on the table by force. When did modding communities turn from collaboration on getting the features/fixes/best possible mods into legal battles over what you can take away without getting caught? I guess I'm getting old for this.

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So, are these the rules concerning adopting and modifying entire mods? Or do they also extend to bits of code from said mods. I'd imagine only the former, as claiming something was copyrighted because a bit of code is similar (or an exact copy, but w/e) is kind of ridiculous. Especially since if the original mod was made by a competent programmer, then the way that it was done may be the best kind of way to do whatever it was you're trying to do. Having to rewrite a section of code because it's similar to something else even if it would make it less efficient is a little absurd. I think that might be a bit closer to what @seronis was trying to get at.

 

A good question. When I was working on my local multiplayer mod, I needed a to create a second character selection screen. I ended up basing that part of my code on part of the old Test Tools mod, which allowed you to change characters while playing, as it was effective and the end result would have been the same if I had spent time pottering around trying to make it work by myself. As a result I felt comfortable thanking the original creator in my mod description, but didn't feel the need to ask for permission to learn from their code. The two mods were entirely different in what they were trying to achieve.

 

I believe that if your work is fundamentally different in some way, you should be fine. Updating or tweaking (i.e. making a minor change which doesn't change the nature of the mod in some way) without permission is what I disagree with. Artwork or sound effects should also not be reused without permission either.

 

That said, I don't think we can really establish a set of black and white rules here. There will be a degree of subjectivity. Also, there is no review performed when a mod is uploaded, regardless of the rules. Hence this is something that needs to be policed by the original creator of the work and the community; if you believe a mod is essentially a copy of another, report it to a moderator and they can make a final decision on the matter.

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A good question. When I was working on my local multiplayer mod, I needed a to create a second character selection screen. I ended up basing that part of my code on part of the old Test Tools mod, which allowed you to change characters while playing, as it was effective and the end result would have been the same if I had spent time pottering around trying to make it work by myself. As a result I felt comfortable thanking the original creator in my mod description, but didn't feel the need to ask for permission to learn from their code. The two mods were entirely different in what they were trying to achieve.

 

I believe that if your work is fundamentally different in some way, you should be fine. Updating or tweaking (i.e. making a minor change which doesn't change the nature of the mod in some way) without permission is what I disagree with. Artwork or sound effects should also not be reused without permission either.

 

That said, I don't think we can really establish a set of black and white rules here. There will be a degree of subjectivity. Also, there is no review performed when a mod is uploaded, regardless of the rules. Hence this is something that needs to be policed by the original creator of the work and the community; if you believe a mod is essentially a copy of another, report it to a moderator and they can make a final decision on the matter.

With that said, if mods are heavily based on another, and not an ouright copy, provided the other one is credited somewhere along the way, I'm sure most of the modders here would be fine with it.  So if something does end up getting reported, it should be asked of the original creator of the original mod whether they're fine with it or not. 

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You are sure that most modders here would be fine if people would break rules stated in this very thread by the admin, and should therefore be considered the common practice despite breaking the official rules (which require permission). Which data are you basing such assumption on, and even if you were right, what gives you the right to suggest breaking official rules as default behavior instead of following them if at all possible? Do you honestly believe that a mod being heavily based on another is NOT covered under modification by the official statement and does not need to follow the guidelines, or is this a bait?

 

I really want to see that majority say it's ok to heavily base your mod on another and publish without permission, and even more, a representative supporting that, as it is against every rule I've seen in the past 20 years of gaming/modding systems. Until that happens, I will consider the guidelines posted as final.

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